First settled in 1630 by English Puritans, Cambridge slowly developed into an agricultural village but suffered from its inaccessibility to Boston. It wasn't until the 19th century that two bridges were constructed to connect Cambridge with Boston and open up industrial growth. However, by the end of World War II, industry in Cambridge had declined, prompting the city to develop into the hub of culture and intellect that it is today.
You can now enjoy popular attractions, like Harvard University and the George Washington elm tree, while experiencing the beauty of the city. But to make the most of your trip to Cambridge, it's important that you first find the right hotel.
When to Visit Cambridge, MA
The best time to visit Cambridge is between June and November, when temperatures are pleasant and exciting activities are plentiful. The summer months attract hordes of tourists and encourage rising hotel rates, but the cultural festivals, museum exhibits, and sidewalk cafes are totally worth it. Plus, temperatures will usually only reach tolerable highs of around 80 degrees. By fall, many of the tourists will depart and hotel prices will drop. You may need a jacket for the cooler temperatures (60s and 70s), but back-to-school excitement makes the city an ideal autumn destination, as well.
Wintertime in Cambridge (December–February) is cold and snowy, with temperatures ranging from 20-40 degrees. If you visit in these months you'll definitely need a heavy coat, but will actually benefit from cheaper hotel rates, less crowds, and prominent seasonal events like the Boston Tea Party Reenactment. The weather will also be perfect for indoor activities like theater, fine dining, and museum-hopping.
The spring months (March–May) are a beautiful time to visit Cambridge. Sure, you'll still need a coat (temperatures will probably be between 30 and 60 degrees), but hotel prices will be affordable. And, with several key events taking over the city and surrounding areas — the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Boston Marathon, and Boston Restaurant Week, to name a few — there will be no shortage of fun things to do.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Cambridge, MA:
Cambridge by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean price trends by star rating class in Cambridge, MA. You can use these line graphs to evaluate the best time period to stay in Cambridge for your upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Cambridge, MA
4 Star Average Prices: $201.64
There are many luxury hotel options throughout Cambridge. For a stay in the heart of the city, The Charles Hotel is one of your best choices. This highly-rated property is minutes away from Harvard Square and the American Repertory Theater, as well as Boston University and the famed Fenway Park. You'll enjoy absolute comfort in one of 295 air-conditioned rooms featuring LCD TVs and convenient minibars. All rooms also include complimentary wireless internet access, cable TV programming, safes, desks, and bathrooms with designer toiletries.
When you step outside of your room, you'll have access to a full-service spa, nightclub, health club, and indoor pool. The hotel also features two excellent restaurants and relaxing lounges.
If the center of the city isn't quite where you want to stay, the Royal Sonesta Boston is a great luxury hotel option. Situated directly on the river with gorgeous views, the hotel is within walking distance of Cambridgeside Galleria, the Museum of Science, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rooms include complimentary wireless internet access and cable TV programming, in addition to bathrooms with designer toiletries.
Amenities around the hotel include a fitness center, indoor pool, concierge service, and complimentary area shuttle. You can enjoy a meal at one of two hotel restaurants or a refreshing drink at the bar or coffee shop. This hotel is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your pooch along for the luxury stay.
Affordable Hotel Options in Cambridge, MA
3 Star Average Prices: $156.62
Cambridge offers many affordable hotel options for budget travelers. Cambridge House Inn at Porter is located in North Cambridge near attractions like Harvard Square and Somerville Theatre, as well as restaurants and shopping. If you stay at this charming inn, you'll enjoy complimentary wireless internet access in one of 20 air-conditioned rooms. Hotel amenities include a lobby fireplace for cozy reading and a nearby grocery store for convenient shopping.
For an affordable hotel option across the river, Coolidge Corner Guest House is a great choice. Warmly decorated with a beautiful exterior, the bed and breakfast is a short distance away from central Cambridge and major attractions like Coolidge Corner Theatre, Boston University, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The guest house offers quaint, air-conditioned rooms with refrigerators for storing food, cable TV programming for entertainment, and complimentary wireless internet access for staying connected. Additional conveniences include a beautiful garden and tour/ticket assistance. You can save even more money by enjoying the complimentary continental breakfast which is offered each morning.
2 Star Average Prices: $105.30
Best Discounts in Cambridge, MA
If you're searching for hotel discounts, you'll be happy with the deals available in Cambridge. Hotel Veritas, located in the center of the city, offers AAA members discount rates on a variety of its rooms. The hotel also offers AARP/senior discount rates on many of its rooms. Guests who stay in this chic, luxury hotel can enjoy flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and pillowtop beds with Egyptian cotton sheets. All rooms include wireless internet access and designer toiletries within the bathrooms.
The hotel has a garden for you to relax in and a coffee shop and bar for convenient refreshment. Best of all, once you step outside of the hotel, you'll be minutes away from Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard Square, Fenway Park, and Boston University.
For an affordable hotel with great discounts, look no further than Days Hotel–Boston/Cambridge. This hotel offers special AAA members-only discounts on its double-bed and king-bed rooms. If you select one of these, you'll have access to complimentary wireless internet, video game consoles, and designer bathroom toiletries. Hotel amenities include a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a picnic area for private outdoor eating. The hotel is convenient to many central Cambridge attractions, including Brighton Music Hall and Harvard Square. Boston University and Fenway Park are also nearby.
Best Value Options in Cambridge, MA
Looking for more bang for your buck? There are plenty of great value hotels in Cambridge that will offer just that. Best Western Plus Hotel Tria is located in the center of Cambridge near Longfellows National Historic Site, Somerville Theatre, and Harvard Square. It offers comfortable, air-conditioned rooms with refrigerators, LCD TVs, and satellite programming. The partially opened bathrooms are complete with shower/tub combinations, designer toiletries, and hair dryers.
Additional room conveniences include a desk and complimentary newspapers delivered on weekdays. The hotel itself offers a health club, gift shop, concierge service, and complimentary shuttle for easy transportation. There's one restaurant in the hotel, along with a bar and coffee shop.
Just across the river lies another great value hotel: Residence Inn Boston Back Bay/Fenway. This eight-floor property is central to many attractions, including House of Blues Boston, Fenway Park, Boston University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While in your room, you'll have access to a kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator, freezer, and stovetop. All rooms include wireless internet access and 32-inch flat-screen TVs; they're also furnished with pillowtop beds and queen sofa beds for extra comfort. Phones, desks, and separate sitting areas are just a few in-room extras.
The hotel offers many recreational activities, including a fitness center, indoor pool with pool loungers, and bike rental service. You can eat at a nearby restaurant or grocery store, and mingle with guests at one of the hotel's complimentary receptions, held on certain days. You can even bring your pet to join the fun.
Top Attractions in Cambridge, MA
No matter where you stay in Cambridge, you'll be close to many of the city's top attractions. If your hotel is near the center, a tour of Harvard University is a must. You'll have the opportunity to visit historic sites like Massachusetts Hall, the dorm that housed John Adams and John Hancock, and Memorial Hall, which is dedicated to fallen Civil War soldiers. Don't forget to also check out some of Harvard's spectacular art museums.
If your hotel is closer to the Charles River, you can walk MIT's mile-long campus and take in the unique architecture. Nearby Kendall Square is the heart of Massachusetts' high-tech and biotech industries. If you're looking for a place to eat and shop, you can head (a short distance) over to Cambridgeside Galleria which features restaurants and over 100 stores. After that, hop on a riverboat for a breathtaking tour of Cambridge and Boston.
Clearly, there are enough attractions in Cambridge to pack any itinerary. By doing one of them or all of them, you'll enjoy a city that's full of history, culture, and remarkable beauty. When it comes to finding a hotel, whether you're searching for an affordable one near the center of the city or a luxury one by the river, you'll have many great options in Cambridge.
Cambridge, MA in a nutshell
Though Massachusetts' fifth most populous city was named in honor of England's own Cambridge University, Cambridge holds intellectual beacons of its own. Home to prestigious Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge's own stellar institutions have far surpassed expectations. Cambridge is that mischievous side of Boston lying across Charles River. The excursion may take at least half a day, and jumpstarts with the Red T Line's fifteen minute ride. Head to the Cambridge Visitor Information Booth, tasked to sporadically organize summer walking tours. Feel free to wander around Harvard Square, designed with interlocking streets of bookstores and shopping malls - Cambridge's own wave of counter-culture. The area is filled with students and street musicians, a rather common sight. See the core of Harvard University, and get lost at the Widener's Library's collection of Shakespeare's folio and a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. The city has a roster of first class museums, some like the Harvard Art Museum have engaging 150,000 works of art. Packed with a youthful flair, Cambridge is a college town where departing from the norm is the accepted way of life.
FAQs about hotels in Cambridge
How much does a cheap hotel in Cambridge cost per night?
In the last year, a 2 star hotel in Cambridge can be as cheap as $105.30 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a 3 star hotel in Cambridge cost per night?
In the last year, the average 3 star hotel in Cambridge has been $156.62 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a higher-end hotel in Cambridge cost?
In the last year, the average 4 star hotel in Cambridge has been $201.64 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
Verified reviews of the city of Cambridge
Below are reviews of the city of Cambridge, MA from an actual visitor's perspective.
Score 5.0 / 5
Ease of access to nearby eateries and local shops near the hotel.
Score 5.0 / 5
Great transportation system, wonderful environment.
Score 4.0 / 5
Going to Brighton Music Hall which was off Cambridge. No one seemed to know where it was. We ran into some college kids who gave us correct directions. Once we found it there were a lot of nice restaurants and shopping.
The average traveler rating of the city of Cambridge, MA shown above is 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews